Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Release: Strong Spirit

I didn't find out about it in time to mention it in my last post, but on April 23, Featherweight Press released my YA urban fantasy novel Strong Spirit, book 6 in my Reality Shift series. I've been looking forward to this release for a while, since the last Reality Shift book was released in November 2011. Here's the blurb and a short excerpt:

 Jonah Leighton's part-time job isn't going well, and he has come to the conclusion that retail work isn't for him. After all, he plans to make a living channeling and doing energy healing, so he doesn't really need a job. Unfortunately, his parents disagree. Fortunately, he's able to get a new job at the town's New Age bookstore, where he'll be respected and will still be able to make time to spend with his best friend Shanna Bailey.
 At the New Age store with Shanna one day, Jonah encounters a girl who is definitely experiencing some problems. The girl has been playing around with a spirit board, and has brought through a dead spirit. Jonah and Shanna learn that the spirit is intentionally draining the girl's energy to try to rebuild his own life. If Shanna and Jonah aren't able to separate the girl from the spirit, she will be the next potential portal for the entity that could destroy our universe.

I gaped at her. She wouldn’t look at me. I had to turn away. After the conversation she and I’d had, I would have thought she’d value herself more. She had been standing up for herself. Part of me was sure Ken had only said those words to manipulate her, and she was letting him do it.
With effort, I raised my vibration and quieted my temper. I knew how important being loved was to Shanna. And even when someone treated her in a way I found inappropriate, she forgave easily if they asked. She had a big heart, and I couldn’t see it as a negative, even when it led her to negative courses of action. I wouldn’t judge her, even if I didn’t agree with her choice.
This time, she allowed Ken to put his arms around her, but her energy field clenched and her body was stiff. She still hadn’t excused him for how he’d acted. That made me worry a little less. She would be on her guard with him, which would help her recognize when he wasn’t treating her well. It also might make her less willing to forgive the next time.
I didn’t want them to break up if Shanna was happy. But she wasn’t, as far as I could tell.
“For two people who supposedly love each other, you guys fight too much,” Mark said.
“Who’s fighting?” Ken demanded.
“We were earlier.” Shanna pulled away from him. “Mark’s right. We fight a lot. How many times since we started going out have we ended up in arguments about Jonah, or about phone calls, or about me not being where you think I should be, or about whatever else you feel like arguing about?”
“I don’t start the arguments,” he protested.
“Then who does?” Her voice rose. “Me? I don’t even know what we’re arguing about half the time! I don’t belong to you, Ken. I love you, and I am your girlfriend but I don’t belong to you. You don’t get that for some reason. You keep acting like I do, and I hate it.”
I turned away again, this time only for a second to hide my smile. Maybe she had accepted his apology too easily, but she wasn’t going to let him forget what he’d done. I hadn’t given her enough credit, and I was glad to be proven wrong.
“I know you don’t belong to me,” he said. “You’ve said so before. I haven’t forgotten.”
“I’m going to keep saying it until you get it through your head.” She folded her arms. “I don’t care if you don’t like hearing it. You need to understand.”
“I do understand. I’m just—” He glanced at me, then turned back to Shanna. “I don’t know why I act that way. I just don’t want anything to happen to you, and I don’t want to lose you. It took too long for us to get together.”
Mark opened his mouth to speak, and I held up my hand to stop him. Shanna needed to handle this herself. It wouldn’t benefit her if Mark and I jumped in.
“You don’t want to lose me, so you keep yelling at me and making accusations?” Shanna demanded. “How does that make sense? You know how my mother treated me. You heard some of the things she said and did, and I’ve told you some. You’re doing the same thing.”
“I’m not like your mother! I’ve never hit you.” He said it as if it made his behavior better.
“No, but I keep being afraid you might, because you get so angry and yell so much I don’t know what you’re going to do.” Shanna’s voice was quiet, almost a whisper.
Her words clearly hit Ken like a bucket of cold water. He stared at Shanna in shock. “Shanna, I didn’t know I scared you so much.” He took her hands. “I would never hurt you. Please believe me. I would never lay a hand on you, I swear. I’m so sorry you’ve been afraid I might.”
“Well, what am I supposed to think when you yell so much? Yelling means someone’s angry, and when someone’s angry, I get hurt.” She said it so matter-of-factly my heart broke. She should never have become used to that chain of events.
“I’ll try not to anymore,” he vowed, still holding her hands. “I really don’t want to break up. Give me another chance, please?”
She stared at him in silence for several seconds before answering, “I will if you promise to stop flipping out about Jonah, and actually keep the promise this time. He’s my best friend, and if you try to make me choose between you and him, you won’t like my choice.”
I wanted to give Shanna an ovation. To me, it would have been better if she’d broken up with him, but at least she hadn’t let him completely off the hook. She rarely stood up for herself to anyone, and after what she’d said on the way to the bus stop, I definitely wouldn’t have expected her to stand up against Ken. Maybe she had developed a better sense of herself, had realized how she deserved to be treated. She definitely deserved better than she received from Ken.

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